“For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner and another after that “
Ist Cor 7v 7
“But and if thou marry, thou has not sinned , and if a virgin marry she has not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh :but I spare you. But this I say, brethren the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none.”
“But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.”
Ist Cor 7 v 28-29
For many years I have read books where I have been told that when I really seek God and go deep deep deep into the Word and really ‘mature’ – the desires for marriage will kind of disappear. Like many I threw myself whole heartedly into church and serving in the ministry – spending most of my time in the church building hoping that one of 2 things would happen – based on what we have been told in these books on singleness. Many of these books do not take into the latest phenomena – which is people are leaving marriage till later and later.
Myth 1 – The desire for marriage would disappear with the rest of my ‘carnal’ desires for husband and children.
Myth 2 – Mr Right would show up as a result of my serving in the ministry.
OK lets explore some very popular things singles are told on a regular basis. They are all true by the way.
We know that Jesus was the most influential person who ever lived and He was never married.
True but that doesn’t take away the desire for marriage.
The days are evil and let every man live as if he is single.
Check check checking …..the desire is still there.
Learn to be single content and whole. You don’t need a man or a woman to be whole. In fact this desire means that you are still carnal and need to mature in the things of God.
I’m trying I really am. I got the single bit down pat. Ive worked on the ‘whole’ bit too. I’m not some insecure female pining for male attention but I cant pretend. Many times in order to maintain our composure or pride we put on a façade that masks what we really feel and say things like –
I’m content being single or Im married to Jesus. I don’t need a man.
Meanwhile life goes on.
The Apostle Paul makes a comment in Romans 6 v 21 – describing the tussle of mind soul and body with the will of God as laid out in scripture-
Rom 7 14v 24
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not, for what I would , that do I not, but what I hate, that do I.
V 22 – “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. But I see another war in my menbers, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God: but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Is it sin that a person still desires to be married and feels guilty when they feel that if they were really Holy they would have been so full of the spirit that they would just be floating around with their mind full of ways how they will please the Lord? Why do many still long to be loved and appreciated by another when so many books and sermons aimed at singles tell them that they are supposed to be content with their lot and in so doing – be viewed as a totally sold out believer.
Maybe we need to be more mature – because the number of years that have passed have not changed the desire many have to be married.
Some people have not been graced to be able to be like Paul and he realises it when he says -–“For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner and another after that “
A word from the ladies.
I cant explain it but there is something deep in the heart of many women – it is a mother heart. A kind of knowing or a strong desire or longing to be a mother – one day, some day if Jesus tarries. It is there buried under the hard nosed professional woman exterior, the tom boy who says ‘she is just one of the lads’ or the sister at church who tells you that ‘she is married to Jesus’ and doesn’t care for things of this world.
When marriage tarries and women come into the realisation that they might never become mothers they go through a mourning period. Mourning for what was hoped for that hasn’t happened or may never happen. Mourning for the children they longed for and the sound of a young child calling them – Mum. Mourning because while all this is going on – they cannot express how they feel to any one in church – even sometimes their leaders for fear of being seen as unspiritual, carnal and not keeping their minds on the things of God.
So when they see male pastors telling them that Jesus was single and they should see being single as a gift – they may struggle to whole hearterdly agree with that sentiment.
There are some things that are true.
There are some things that are scriptural.
There are some things that are fact.
There are also some things that are reality.
Sometimes we have to try and find a happy balance with all these three mediums.
Wanting to get married doesn’t make a person –
- Not keen on the things of God
- Unaware of the fact that whether single or married – Gods sovereign will is what is uppermost.
Does singleness really make the singles I know more spiritual than the marrieds? Taking a good look at the singles around me – I am hard pressed to see the great works they are doing for God that necessitate them being single well into their 40s and 50s. Most of them especially the women seem to be more concerned about finding a lifepartner. In fact the married people seem to be more enthused about serving God than many discontented singles that are inwardly mourning the fact that they may never marry or have families. This is me being real here. Im not sugar coating it but saying it as Ive seen it.
Of course marriage is not the ultimate. Everyone regardless of their marital status should look forward to the real marriage of the Lamb when we get to Heaven but in the meanwhile ….while we are in this body, on this side of heaven – somehow we have to deal with our hearts, our fears, our desires, our wants and trust God that whether single or married – we fulfil our purpose on earth.